The most wonderful time of the year, and BONUS… we’re all still alive.

I love this time of year.  Holidays, food, family, all that comes with the ever impending Christmas.  We just came off of a 4-day bender, Thanksgiving style, with my brother and his two daughters, 9 and 7. His wife was in Coco Beach watching the launch of the Mars Curiosity Rover at NASA.  She was dearly missed here, and I would have loved to be able to spend some time with her, but was glad she got to do something so cool.

Nonetheless, we were a household of 8 for four blessed days.  I was concerned after the second day that someone might not make it out alive, but we all made it out, a little worse for the wear, but we survived. I have issues with having to clean up after others, or maybe with others messing up my space, not sure, but I was irritated that I had to constantly make the kids clean up the basement (aka my lavish walk-out basement apartment…) and my brother was little help when it came to enforcing everyone to help.  I was on the edge for a while, but then I remembered he was a man.  It’s been a while since I’ve lived with a male-in-charge-of-children, and my dad doesn’t really count because he’s wise beyond his years… Anyway, I realized he is like any other father who doesn’t get involved unless it directly is making him uncomfortable, and apparently I don’t make him uncomfortable (enough anyway). In the end I banned the girls from the basement for a day and that seemed to lessen the amount of mess they made when they were allowed back downstairs.

We did a lot of fun stuff that we wouldn’t have done a year ago, or even three months ago, due to Lainey’s anxiety. But I was completely excited that we got to go to the annual Santa Claus Parade and to see “Puss in Boots” in the theater.  Ella was a little iffy at first (through the entire previews she would not allow me to go any farther than just inside the door) but once the movie started she went in and was pretty good, aside from multiple bouts of musical chairs.

We decorated at church one night and the kids got to make crafts and help decorate the basement, then ate pizza and watched “A Muppet Christmas Carol”. Today we finished out the fun with a trip to church (with no less than four children) and Christmas program rehearsal. It was fun to see the girls be able to play and have fun together, and it was great to be with my family, but it was nice when they went home and the house was just a bit quieter, even with two girls still here.

I am hopeful that this year I will begin to find the anticipation and excitement of the holidays surfacing again. It means that there is meaning to something again, and it reminds me that life doesn’t end with one person.  It teaches me that, with good friends and family, life goes on and can be good on my own terms again.  I hope I can give my kids a gift of another awesome Christmas, and this one is better and holds new, happier traditions for Christmas’ to come!

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